In his relatively short but impressive career to date, writer and director Derek Cianfrance has intelligently toyed with narrative conventions, playing with linear structure to get the desired effect from his tales of family, love and loss. He ventures into the period drama genre for his latest feature The Light Between Oceans, adapting M.L. Stedman’s novel of the same name for the screen. Set in Western Australia shortly after World War I, veteran Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) has posttraumatic stress disorder due to the loss he has experienced. As a coping mechanism he takes up a post as a lighthouse keeper to remove himself from civilisation. When he meets his new boss’s daughter Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander), the pair fall in love and get married. They face a dilemma when a dead man and a newborn baby wash up on the shore in an old rowboat. Desperate to start a family together and in mourning after suffering two miscarriages, the couple make a perilous choice that changes their lives forever.
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Fashion icon Tom Ford enjoyed his first foray into filmmaking back in 2009 with A Single Man which was met with critical acclaim and awards glory. He’s back for his second feature with neo-noir thriller Nocturnal Animals, based on Austin Wright’s 1993 novel Tony and Susan. The plot centres around luxuriously successful LA art dealer Susan (Amy Adams) who, despite her extreme wealth, is unhappy with what and who she has become. When she receives a manuscript from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), she is led to reflect upon her life. Her ex’s bloody tale of violent revenge, which gives the movie its title, plays out as a film within a film, haunting her memories and dredging up her dark past.
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It’s not uncommon in cinema for actors to delve into directing, and the latest name to move behind the camera is Ewan McGregor. Adapting Philip Roth’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel of the same name, American Pastoral focuses on a political divide in late 1960s New Jersey that tears a family apart. McGregor also takes the film’s leading role, playing Seymour “Swede” Levov, a respected and successful glover that lives with his former beauty queen wife Dawn (Jennifer Connelly) and their troubled daughter Merry (Dakota Fanning). With the Vietnam War raging on, Merry’s radical views cause tensions to run high in their upper middle class household. A damaging explosion in their local town sends shockwaves through the community, and Merry mysteriously disappears.
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